How to Choose a Backpack for a Kid
A comfortable backpack is a must-have for any child who goes to school as it stays
with the kid from the morning till he comes home. A backpack not only holds
supplies, books, and lunch but is a reflection of the child showing off his or her
personality and aspirations. When choosing a backpack with your child's favorite
character or color, it's also essential to give it a test run to check the quality and
make sure that the backpack comfortably holds. To buy the backpack that will last
for a few years consider inspecting whether the zippers work effortlessly and the
buckles easily snap open and shut. After that flip the pack inside out and inspect a
"finished" seam to make sure that threads have no frayed edges or fuzz. Just keep
these simple tips in mind when choosing the backpack which your child will love
and which will be durable enough.
Shoulder the Straps
Focus on straps: wide, padded shoulder straps will help distribute weight evenly and prevent muscle strain or injury, say pediatricians. Backpacks with narrow straps or one-strap messenger bags put excess pressure on a small area of the body. If you do select a messenger bag make sure the kid wears it slung across the chest diagonally to provide extra support. Some packs feature a waist or chest strap for additional support. When you adjust the straps for your kid, check if the pack fits snugly around the torso.
Pinch the Padding
A good backpack should come with the back panel and shoulder straps padded with foam. To verify comfort, support, and durability consider doing a "rebound test." Just squeeze a little and see how the foam rebounds to its original shape. The foam should not pop like bubble wrap or crinkle like wax paper.
Make Room for Essentials
Ideally the backpack should easily fit a 2- or 3-inch, three-ring binder and other school supplies. But experts warn that a larger backpack is not always better. If the foam pad reaches the back of the neck or head, it means that the pack is just too big - the foam pack should be relative to the torso of child. Make sure zippered pockets are easy to reach and can securely hold stuff like pencils, ID cards, or phones. Padded compartments for computers and other heavy objects will also be handy.
Consider Materials and Extras
Another aspect to consider when choosing the right backpack is the fabric it is made of. The advantage of synthetic fabrics like nylon or polyester is their high water-resistance but they are not less eco-friendly. If environmental sustainability is important to you and your kid isn't too prone to spilling opt for a backpack made of hemp, for example.
Zippers are important as well. Well-made ones that zip smoothly and don't catch on fabric will last longer. Velcro is less durable than a quality zipper. Reflector: To provide protection against cars and bicycles in the dark, many backpacks feature reflective paneling. If a pack that doesn't come with a reflector caught your eye, you can add a clip-on one.
Opt for Wheels
Many parents prefer a rolling bag so that a child won't have to carry all the weight of the load on their shoulders. However, before deciding on a rolling bag consider whether your kid is strong enough to carry the bag up a flight of stairs or roll it through the snow. The best option is the bag that rolls smoothly and is not too big for your child. Or you may purchase a bag with two in-line skate wheels. Such bags are less bulky, rather quiet and are easier to control. And make sure the handle is sturdy and easy-to-extend.
How to Pack the Backpack
The main advice is not to overload the pack. The weight of a fully loaded backpack should not exceed 10 to 20 percent of the child's body weight.
Another tip is to pack smarter. Put the heaviest items like books, laptop or tablet closest to the child's back to ensure the best weight distribution.
Finally, use lockers well. Ask your child to unload and load his pack often to carry fewer items at a time. If your kid has access to a locker or even a tote tray in the desk, he or she can use it as well.
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